psyc 391 readings 01/14/2014
Apocalypse soon? (reading 1)
people have a just world belief that their environment is a safe and stable place. global warming issues
threaten this belief and people react by employing defensive responses, through dismissal or rationalization
of the information.
Experiment: hold the level of just world beliefs people have, measured levels of skepticism regarding global
warning after being exposed to different types of global warming messages.
does dire global warming messages actually promote skepticism among individuals with strong just world
dire messages can increase skepticism regarding global warming by contradicting individuals’ underlying
just world belief.
participants who were primed with just world statements reported high levels of global warming skepticism
than those who were primed with unjust world statements.
dire messages lead to increased global warming skepticism because they conflict with just world beliefs
those primed with just world statements reported less willingness to change their lifestyle to reduce their
carbon footprint than did those primed with unjust world statements.
the same dire messages should be coupled with a potential solution, the information can be
communicated without created a substantial threat.
our results complement recent research showing that framing environmentalism as patriotic can
successfully increase proenvironmental behavioral intentions in individuals most attached to the status quo.
global warming messages should not contradict with individual’s deeply held beliefs. 01/14/2014
Reading 2 ( the emergency of climate change) 01/14/2014
Latane and darley’s (1970) model of helping behavior in an emergency to the issue of climate change.
the model provides an integrative framework that highlights the relevance to climate change of disparate
Latane and darley (1970) proposed that in order for someone to help, five criteria must be met. They also
propose an overarching cost/benefit analysis that impacts whether or not a person will engage in helping.
potential helper must notice the event in question.
however, many emergencies lack salience in our lives.
characteristics of the helper also makes a difference: a potential helper who is in a hurry or is highly self
absorbed may not notice the distressed other.
requires the potential helper to interpret the event as an emergency situation. Emergency events are often
our reliance on others for information and our need for approval can both facilitate and serve as a barrier
requires individuals to feel a sense of personal responsibility to aid the distressed other.
one key determinant of feeling responsible is having a sense of “weness” or connectedness to the victim.
> smaller groups, similarity of the person to the distressed other, and taking the victim’s perspective all
contribute ot a sense of connection
any key determinant of feeling responsible is having no one else to rely on. ( diffusion of responsibility) 01/14/2014
knowing what to do
actually deciding to act are also required before help will be given in an emergency.
people will not help if they feel that their personal resources are insufficient to effectively cope with the
emergency. Instead, they are likely to deny personal responsibility.
* factors that enhance a person’s sense of empowerment or selfefficacy tends to promotes helping
behavior. As well as information that provides people with effective ideas of how to address an emergency
Psychological processes of each stage are intertwined and affect each other. Society level
structural( policy) changes beget individual level psychological changes.
key to successful action is collective action( at both the society and psychological level)
stage 1: noticing the event
taking steps to psychologically decrease the distance between the potential helper and the emergency
may also help people to notice climate change.
Step 2 : interpreting the event as an emergency
humans are not objective and passive processors of information
fears, desires and goals influence strongly how they evaluate and weigh evidence( fiske & taylor, 2007)
communication designed to arouse fear often backfire, unless coupled with recommendations.
individuals are impacted by the way others react in an emergency situation; they rely on other for
information. Seeing others make efforts to reduce their carbon footprint may prove to be effective in helping
to establish that the threat of climate change requires immediate action 01/14/2014
optimism can also lead people to fail to perceive an event as an emergency. Optimism makes
people believe that nothing negative will happen to them
stage 3: feeling personally responsible to act
responsibility is subjectively defined
all cultures have a responsibility norm: an understanding about who and what we are responsible
cognitive dissonance: individuals are motivated to perceive it is someone else’s job
when the magnitude of the emergency is greater than the personal resources available to an
individual, the potential helper is likely to engage in defensive attribution and not accept responsibility
for the emergency
Lazarus and Folkman(1984) there are two coping strategies:
problem focused: taking action to confront a threat
emotion focused coping : ignoring or denying the threat
how do people decide which form to choose? People’s perception of control
more perceived control, more likely to choose problem focused coping
mckenzie mohr and smith(1999): sense of perceived control is largely impacted by our sense of
acting in concert with others leads people to have greater sense of self efficacy( personal control),
thus, less likely to engage in defensive denial of responsibility or emotion focused coping
sense of perceived control >increase in selfefficicacy> problem focused coping 01/14/2014
we an also increase feelings of responsibility to U.S citizens sense of connection to nature. > research
on prosocial behavior consistently demonstrates that feeling connected to others increases willingness
to help. ( either going outside, looking out a window, spending time in greenhouse..)
increasing individual’s knowledge about an issue, although intuitively appealing, is not